Bulbs are a great addition to any garden as they will provide color year after year and can even provide additional flowers to be divided and planted in another part of the garden. Unlike, annuals, bulb flowers do not need to be planted each year.
Bulbs are hardy in nature and there is a color, shape or size that should suit any gardening need. Here’s some favorite garden bulbs and their planting needs.
Crocus bulbs are often the fist blooms we see in early spring or at the end of winter. Their tubular shaped flowers range in size from 1½” to 3″ long. Crocuses are planting in almost every garden and have a wide range of colors to suite any taste. Other types of crocus, such as the saffron crocus, bloom instead in the fall, and the flowers can rise from the bare ground weeks, or even only days, after the bulbs are planted. Crocus bulbs should be planted in the fall. Plant the bulbs 2 to 3 inches deep and space 3 or 4 inches apart. Crocuses require well drained soil, regular watering and will grow in full sun or partial shade.
Dahlias have a long bloom time from summer through fall and like many other bulbs come in a large variety of colors, sizes and shapes.
These flowers are so diverse that there are varieties with flower sizes ranging from 2 to 12 inches and from under a foot to 7 feet tall! Plant dahlias in spring after threat of frost has passed. Plant between 4 and 6 inches deep with spacing of 1 foot for short varieties and 5 feet for the tall variety’s. Dahlias like full sun unless you are planting them in a very hot climate where they might do well with a little shade. As with most flowers, make sure these are watered regularly.
This plant is more commonly called the snowdrop and is one of the first plants to bloom after winter. They are short plants about 6 inches tall and have two bell shaped flowers. They thrive in colder climates. Plant snowdrops in fall, dig down 3 to 4 inches and plant 3 inches apart. These flowers like full sun but will tolerate partial shade. Water regularly during the growing cycle.
The daffodil may be the most easily recognizable of all bulb plants, and it rewards its gardener with a generous display of beautiful blooms. Besides the traditional white and yellow varieties, daffodils also come in shades of orange, apricot, pink and cream. Daffodil bulbs should be planted twice as deep as they are tall, and they should be spaced between six and eight inches apart. Daffodils benefit from full sun and regular watering during their growth and bloom periods.
Tulips are a favorite flower around the world and one of the most easy to recognize. These are among the most hybridized of all flowers, with hybrids available in a staggering array of shapes, sizes, colors and textures. Tulips bloom from mid spring to late spring with different varieties having different bloom times. Tulips should be planted in fall and each bulb should be planted about 3 times deeper than the size of the bulb.A 2″ wide bulb would be planted 6″ deep. It is important to leave sufficient space between the planted bulbs as well, from four to eight inches depending on the size of the bulb.
Gladiolas are among the most popular of all bulb plants, and their distinctive sword shaped leaves and funnel shaped flowers are instantly recognizable to gardeners and non gardeners alike. Gladiolas are best planted in the spring, but only after the soil has warmed. Gladiolas do best in full sunlight and they should be watered regularly during their blooming and growth phase. In much of the country, gladiola bulbs can be left in the ground over the winter months, but many gardeners choose to dig them up and store them during the winter. If you decide to take this approach, it is best to dig them after the leaves have turned yellow. The bulbs should be placed in a single layer and stored in a cool, dry and dark place to dry for two or three weeks. After the bulbs have dried sufficiently they should be stored in nylon stockings or onion sacks and kept in a cool and well ventilated place.
Hemerocallis is the scientific name for the daylily, and it is one of the most well known types of bulb plants on the market. Daylily hybrids can grow as tall as six feet and bloom in the spring and summer months. The daylily produces flowers ranging in size from three to eight inches, and they are available in a wide variety of colors. The daylily is actually a tuberous root variety of bulb, and they are best planted during fall or early spring. Daylilies should be planted between ½ inch and 1 inch deep and space between 2 to 2½ inches apart in the garden. As with other varieties of bulbs, it is important to water daylilies on a regular basis during their growing season.
Hyacinths (Dutch Hyacinth)
The Dutch hyacinth is one of the most instantly recognizable, and most popular, of all the varieties of bulb plants. The Dutch hyacinth blooms in the spring and features the well known foot high spires with their small bell shaped and very fragrant flowers. Hyacinths come in a wide varieties of colors, including red, pink, buff, white, blue and purple. The Dutch hyacinth grows best in colder areas, and it can last from year to year. In these cold water climates, the hyacinth is best planted in September of October. It is best to plant hyacinth bulbs four to five inches deep, and to space them from four to five inches apart as well. Hyacinths grow best in full sunlight, and they benefit from regular watering, especially during their blooming and growth periods.
The most frequently seen variety of irises are the bearded varieties. Bearded irises are striking plants, and they appear in a dazzling array of colors and combinations of colors. Irises appear in a variety of sizes as well, with very small varieties and very large ones as well. Irises should be planted in July or August in cold climates and in September or October in warmer areas. Irises are actually rhizomes, and they should be spaced from one to two feet apart, with the tops placed right below the surface of the soil. Irises grow best in full sunlight or light shade, and they benefit from a regular watering schedule during their growing season.
Lee Dobbins writes for Backyard Garden and Patio where you can find more articles on gardening, garden ponds, garden decor and much more.